Kempton is ready to host another ultra-competitive King George VI Chase with Silviniaco Conti primed to recover from a series of near-misses and land Boxing Day’s standout race.
The Paul Nicholls-trained charge is a 5/1 shot with Ladbrokes and has been seen as one of the positive movers in the market, with last year’s runner-up Captain Chris now ruled out of the historic 3m contest.
Cue Card and Dynaste are both vying for favouritism at odds of 3/1, however it’s Silviniaco Conti who could give them the most to think about and buck recent trends.
Seven of the last 10 King George winners were victorious last time out, an obvious tick in the box for Betfair Chase hero Cue Card who held both Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti to score at Haydock.
But the latter of those losers and our selection here does have another trend in his favour given that seven of the last 10 renewal winners had previously finished either first or second over the course and distance.
This was a feat achieved in a novice affair at the Surrey track when finishing as a runner-up ahead of subsequent Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth in 2011.
And despite a few missed opportunities in recent times, the talented seven-year-old is likely to strip fitter for his Betfair Chase reappearance and is more than capable of reeling in Colin Tizzard’s fancy.
In that regard, it’s worth remembering the disappointing performance put in by Cue Card 12 months ago when limping home 20 lengths behind Nicky Henderson’s Long Run.
Over the same track and trip and with similar conditions forecast, it’ll be interesting to see just how much improvement Cue Card has made.
While that recent Haydock triumph has quashed doubts over his stamina in some quarters, last year’s showing and concerns surrounding a recent viral outbreak in the Tizzard yard, cast a shadow over the Ryanair Chase winner’s chances on this occasion.
At the current prices Cue Card is certainly worth opposing. King George specialist Nicholls plays a strong hand with both the 4/1 shot Al Ferof and Silviniaco Conti lining-up to take on the current joint-favourite.
The Ditcheat saddler told the Racing Post: “Silviniaco Conti will be thrilled with all the rain, while Al Ferof will handle the trip and ran well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last year with a big weight.”
Now could be the time the former of the aforementioned pair steps up and confirms his pre-eminence among chasing’s elite.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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